"Many in Green Valley believe that on the day Jinx Jenkins arrived in the valley, a great shockwave of calamity spread throughout the county."

This collection of interconnected stories takes place in the fictional county of Green Valley. A vagrant named Jinx Jenkins rides the SkyTram around the county, stopping by storefronts and eying passersby. Everyone who encounters Jinx has some catastrophic fate befall them soon after, and many of the tales in this book recount these fates. The subtitle indicates that this is “A Storybook for Grownups,” and the work delivers on this premise.

The chapters range from folkloric sighting accounts to humorous anecdotes and reflective social commentaries. In one, a precocious young boy sets out to disprove the legend of the local Bigfoot and instead finds and befriends the cryptid. In another, a man comes to terms with the psychological damage caused by childhood trauma. A series of stories follow a driver for a meal delivery service, but each of his chapters is written in a different genre. Interspersed with these tales are short passages about Jinx passing through the area and the lives he touches along the way.

Sommers’ magical realism is predicated on his worldbuilding, which is immaculate. The descriptive writing for each location makes Green Valley seem real and tangible. While the tone from story to story varies dramatically, they all come together cohesively as an examination of human nature. These stories look at how people behave under the most extreme circumstances. The fantastical world of Green Valley is reminiscent of Neil Gaiman’s work, while the character studies in each tale evoke the short stories of Stephen King. The chapters occasionally revisit characters, allowing for a deeper view of their lives while also lending a sense of familiarity to the fictional county. Fans of fantasy, horror, and well-imagined environments will find themselves at home in Green Valley.

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